Divest Parliament

Big news: 100 MPs from across party lines have signed the Divest Parliament pledge, including Labour leader – Jeremy Corbyn.

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Press enquiries contact: Danielle Paffard / 350.org / 07979817888 / danielle.paffard@350.org

  • A cross-party group of one hundred MPs and former MPs are calling on their £612 million pension fund to remove its investments in fossil fuels, as Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell become the 99th and 100th MPs to sign the Divest Parliament pledge.
  • From 50 pledges in May, MP support for the campaign has doubled in just over half a year.
  • First signed and championed by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and Green Party Co-Leader in 2016, other recent signees of the Divest Parliament pledge include Labour MPs Rebecca Long-Bailey, David Lammy and Harriet Harman, Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith, Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb and SNP MP Ian Blackford.

Jeremy Corbyn, Leader of the Labour Party and MP for Islington North said:

“Two years on from the historic Paris Agreement, our country must show leadership in confronting the existential threat posed by climate change. One contribution we can make as MPs is to end the investment from our pension fund in fossil fuel industries, which is why I have signed the pledge. To help protect our planet, we must wean our economy off its fossil fuel dependence and do more to move towards clean and renewable energy.”

Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion said:

“Preventing catastrophic and irreversible climate change means leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. By divesting our own pension fund from fossil fuels, MPs can come together to demonstrate to the public that we are committed to a just transition towards a low-carbon economy. It’s utterly unacceptable that the Parliamentary Pension Fund remains so opaque, and that MPs’ savings continue to fuel climate chaos. We need real transparency, and an ethical policy which ensures that our investments do not cause harm for the sake of short term profit.”

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park said:

“I am proud of the role played by the government in shaping the historic Paris Agreement. But Paris was just the beginning. Shifting the investments of the MP pension fund to align it with the agreement would not only be financially prudent, it would send a powerful signal.”

David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham:

“After a summer of devastating hurricanes, floods and droughts, the consequences of failing to uphold the Paris Agreement have never been more apparent. It is our responsibility as MPs to take our commitments to our planet and to future generations seriously – if we are going to call for action on climate change on the floor of the House of Commons then we must lead by example and put our money where our mouths are by divesting our own pension fund and hope that others will join us in doing so.”

Ian Blackford, SNP Leader at Westminster said:

“I want Scotland to continue to build a prosperous, low-carbon economy. We have already exceeded our world-leading climate change goals and our renewable energy targets too, but we must remain ambitious for the future and can always go further. It is important that our investment decisions support this ambition.”

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat MP for North Norfolk said:

“I strongly support the call for MPs’ pension fund to divest from fossil fuels. Climate change is one of the biggest global threats we face, and we should do everything in our power to achieve a zero carbon economy by 2050. Moving away from coal, oil and gas and investing in renewable energy is good for the planet, but it is also vital to protect our economy from the risks of investing in companies whose value is tied to assets incompatible with our climate obligations. As the effects of climate change become ever clearer, this move makes environmental and financial sense.”

Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for Streatham said:

“The investment policies of the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund should be guided by the interests and values of scheme members. The schemes refusal to disclose how much of the fund is being invested in fossil fuel companies is wrong. We should be taking advantage of the international cooperation demonstrated by the Paris Agreement to drive forward low-carbon investment in the UK.”

Patrick Killoran from the Divest Parliament campaign said:

“Like the rest of my generation, I’m deeply concerned about the impacts of climate change here and around the world. It’s great to see MPs listening to their constituents and showing political leadership on climate action. Investing in companies such as BP and Shell, who continue to dig for more fossil fuels and lobby against climate policy to line executives’ pockets, is dangerous and wrong. I hope more MPs will join those committing to Divest Parliament today, and prioritise concrete action to build a clean, fair energy system for all.”

Press Releases

April 23, 2018

Top Catholic institutions worth billions divest from fossil fuels as part of the continuing momentum for the global divestment movement

GLOBAL – 35 catholic organisations and institutions announced yesterday their decision to divest from fossil fuels as the main drivers of the climate crisis. Caritas Internationalis – a confederation of 165 Catholic relief, development and social service organisations operating in over 200 countries and territories and an official institution of the Catholic Church – is among the institutions who commit to divest from fossil fuels.

Also three Catholic banks worth €7.5bn, bishops worldwide and an international coalition of Catholic institutions – the Global Catholic Climate Movement – have all decided to sever ties with the fossil fuel industry, whether in the form of partial or full commitments to go fossil free. They join 60 Catholic organizations that recently divested, signaling the growing strength of the divestment movement within the Catholic Church.

The recent drive for divestment in the Catholic Church has been fueled by the groundbreaking Papal encyclical Laudato sì – released in June 2015 in the lead-up to the Paris climate change conference -, in which Pope Francis stressed humanity’s responsibility to care for the Earth. Yesterday’s announcement is a big step forward, raising hopes that the Vatican itself will soon commit to divest its assets from fossil fuels.

The campaign to divest from fossil fuels is the fastest growing divestment campaign in history. As of today, over 850 institutions representing $6.1 trillion globally have announced divestment commitments.

“Private citizens, funds and institutions determined to give not a penny more to dirty energy are eroding the economic and cultural capital of the fossil fuel industry, paving the way for a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all. By divesting their assets from fossil fuels, they are reducing the ability for big oil, coal and gas companies to develop new extraction projects, while citizens worldwide are rising to stop these projects in their communities,” said Yossi Cadan, Global Divestment Senior Campaigner at 350.org.

Caritas Internationalis’ president, H.E. Cardinal Luis Tagle said: “The poor are suffering greatly from the climate crisis and fossil fuels are among the main drivers of this injustice. That is why Caritas Internationalis has decided not to invest in fossil fuels anymore. We encourage our member organizations and other groups or organizations connected to the Church to do the same.”

The decision of Caritas Internationalis to divest is matched by leading Catholic banks, which are divesting from fossil fuels to give Catholic institutional investors responsible options and to address climate change. Pax Bank, Bank Im Bistum Essen eG, and Steyler Ethik Bank are among the institutions that have announced their divestment yesterday. In total, these financial institutions control balance sheets of approximately €7.5 billion.

Top Church officials, including bishops, are also spearheading the global and diverse movement for divestment. The archdiocese of Luxembourg, the archdiocese of Salerno-Campagna-Acerno, and the diocese of Communauté Mission de France have announced divestment by their dioceses yesterday.

Yesterday’s commitments to divest from fossil fuels were coordinated by Global Catholic Climate Movement, which also announced its divestment. Tomás Insua, its executive director, said: “When it comes to protecting our common home, we have not a moment to lose. Divesting from fossil fuels is important to bending the arc of emissions downward soon. We are grateful to join the growing movement of Catholic institutions away from dirty energy and toward better care of creation. Church leadership on this issue has never been more important.”

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CONTACT
Hoda Baraka, hoda@350.org, +2-01001-840990
Rebecca Elliott, reba@catholicclimatemovement.global, +1.202.717.7228

NOTES TO EDITORS

Global Catholic Climate Movement is an international organisation of 650+ member organizations and thousands of Catholic people responding to Pope Francis’ call to protect our common home.

Fossil Free is a global campaign led by local groups demanding our local communities and institutions commit to: a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all; no new fossil fuel projects anywhere; not a penny more for dirty energy.

ADDITIONAL ASSETS

Social media templates are here.

A video for social media, produced by Years of Living Dangerously, will be available 23 April in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Please contact reba@catholicclimatemovement.global 23 April for the link.

The full list of institutions that have divested yesterday is here, including information on the type of divestment and statements and media contacts for selected organizations.

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